Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter

If you're like me, or rather like I was just several short minutes ago, you haven't the foggiest clue what speculoos are. But now that you've checked out that wikipedia link, you feel somewhat enlightened. The first time I had ever seen or heard this word was right there on the jar of this product.

But a bigger - and perhaps slightly more revealing clue to the taste of this Cookie Butter is also right there on the jar, but closer to the bottom: "gingerbread." Ah, now you're speaking my language, Trader Joe. I know what gingerbread is. I know what gingerbread cookies are. I know what gingerbread men are. I think most of us have seen Shrek.





And the part about being "deliciously unusual" kind of made me raise an eyebrow the first time I read it. Any time you use a word like "unusual" on the label of a food product, you had better add something about deliciousness, or you simply won't sell your product. It's just kind of a marketing no-brainer.

But at any rate, marketing gimmick or not, the phrase "deliciously unusual" pretty much nails this TJ's Cookie Butter in my opinion. "A deliciously unusual spread reminiscent of gingerbread and made with crushed biscuits." That whole spiel is pretty darn accurate, if you ask me, except for maybe the very last part.

Oh—and for those of you who don't speak British, "biscuit" is what they call a cookie in the UK. However, I find no evidence of any cookie texture at all. If this stuff ever came in the form of a biscuit or cookie or whatever, it has been pulverized well beyond recognition. The phrase "crushed biscuits" makes me think of chunkiness. But this stuff is smoooth. Aww yeeeah. Smooth like you should be imagining Isaac Hayes saying "smooth" instead of a nerdy foodie-hack white boy—which, incidentally, is how you should be imagining the rest of this article being spoken—if, in fact, you imagine food reviews being spoken out loud as you read them at all.

This stuff is...just...good. We tried it on pancakes and toast. Win. Win. Tried it just off the spoon. Win. It's not at all oily. It's smooth like butter, but it's actually better than butter.

"Better than butter, baby," interjected Isaac Hayes.

That's right. If you like - or really even just tolerate gingerbread, I can't imagine you not liking this product. It's in the upper echelon of spreads. It's right up there with Peanut Butter, Nutella, and Marshmallow Fluff. Really probably better than Marshmallow Fluff. And I like Marshmallow Fluff.

Sonia agrees that it's a winner. This is exactly what we expect from Trader Joe. A weird product that's actually good. Uniqueness done right. TJ's takes risks—and while many of those experiments fall flat on their faces, this Cookie Butter is case in point for why this blog exists.

4.5 stars from Sonia. 5 stars from me.

Bottom line: 9.5 out of 10 stars.




73 comments:

  1. Yumm, I knew that Lotus Bakeries the Biscoff Cookie Butter, but I didn't know that Trader Joes's makes the stuff too. I hope my local TJ's carries it.

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  2. You can sub it in most baking recipes that use peanut butter. Over the holidays, I made Biscoff/white chocolate chip cookies, Biscoff swirl brownies and Biscoff fudge.

    Delicious!

    (I used the original Biscoff spread in some of the recipes and the TJ's cookie butter in others. There's a slight difference in texture/taste but not much. For the price? I'd take the Cookie butter!)

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    1. Wow - sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing JS.

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    2. I'm allergic to peanuts and of course peanut butter. Biscoff spread/TJ's Cookie Butter is the answer to my prayers. My favorite way to use it is in homage of Elvis. Slap some jam/jelly on one side of a frozen (frozen helps to keep the bread from tearing) Wonder bread and Cookie Butter on the other. Fry in an indecent amount of butter. Eat ooey-gooey goodness. Go directly to Heaven.

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  3. close to perfect. my sentiments, exactly.

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  4. My roommate and I are addicted to this stuff. It was off the shelves for a couple months after Christmas, but when it was back, we bought two jars each. BLISS.

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  5. I recently opened my first jar, and spread some on apple slices. Tasty! I see no directions regarding storage - anyone recommend refrigerating (or not) after opening?

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    1. Hi Caroyln, looks like you don't need to refrigerate it. We've been storing it in our cupboard. I'm sure a cool and dry place is ideal.

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  7. If you're interested in just tasting it, TJ's also has a dark chocolate truffle bar with cookie butter filling. You can find it at the cash wrap. I spread it on the vanilla wafer cone cookies TJ's carries Delicious!

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    1. Sounds tasty! We'll have to keep our eyes out for them next time we visit TJ's. Thanks for the tip.

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    2. The cookies are Belgian Butter Waffle Cookies....not vanilla... :-)

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    3. what/where is the 'cash wrap'?

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    4. There's usually a little island of chocolate centered around a support post near the checkout stands...different chocolate on four sides. Cash wrap is the checkout stand.

      We love the butter on toasted pretzel bread. Just heaven. The idea below for pumpkin ice cream is fabulous!

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  8. Vanilla wafer cone cookies?
    I have not seen those. But they sound delightful.

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  9. My #1 all-time favorite TJ's product! It's so fabulous. I love it stirred into oatmeal, spread on pretzels (sweet/savory combo is awesome), but, most of all, straight off the spoon.

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    1. My wife Sonia loves oatmeal - I'll have to share this tip with her. Thanks!

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  10. this stuff is my weakness! i especially love it on TJ's thin pretzel crisps- oh, sweet and salty goodness. i've been known to eat it by the spoonful too!

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    1. Looks like pretzels are gaining popularity with this spread. Thanks Dina!

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  11. I like this a lot, but I disagree that it is super smooth. I detect a graininess/grittiness there, but I think that reinforces the claim that there are actual cookies in there.

    Oh, and thanks for the tip on the chocolate covered peanut butter cookies. Picked some up a few weeks ago and LOVE THEM. They are like a dark chocolate-peanut butter Kit Kat, only heaps better.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the tip. We sure love our Kit Kat but you are right - I am sure the Dark Chocolate PB wafers are better in general.

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  12. Back before Xmas, I was in TJ's and saw the almond-chocolate spread on an end display. Being a fan of Nutella, I was intrigued. I picked up the jar and asked one of the nearby crew members if she had tasted it, as they're usually good for a recommendation at least, if they don't just pop open the package and let you taste it on the spot!

    Instead she turned her gaze to the shelf next to it where jars of cookie butter was stacked. I swear, her eyes glowed like she was hypnotized as she said, "It's okay, but THAT stuff is amazing!" And I kid you not, about three other employees appeared out of the woodwork, chorusing "oh, yeah that stuff is fan-tastic!" It was almost cult-like, their adoration.

    So I bought a jar and ate it with a spoon in two sittings. I was hooked. Shortly after that I bought another jar and only got part-way through it before I just couldn't go any further. I'm afraid I had too much at once and won't be able to do it again for a while. So rich! But for a short time there, it was just about my favorite thing ever.

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    1. Haha I laughed out loud at your comment. I just bought the almond spread stuff today (nutella imposter?!) and I reeeally love it. I want to try this new spread though. Omg. Sounds like heaven. And bad for my thighs lol.

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    2. Kate~ I amuse myself, and if I can bring a chuckle to another, so much the better!

      Cheers,
      ~Justine

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    3. I bet the two would go good together

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  13. It melts well. The best thing I did with our cookie butter was melt it over TJ's pumpkin ice cream (oh why does that have to be seasonal?) that we scooped over the TJ's gingerbread cake. OMG. Better than hot fudge.

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    1. Ah this sounds delicious! As a pumpkin flavor fan I'd definitely try it.

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  14. Pretty sure the jar says do not refrigerate? Just happened to see that last night. I LOVE this stuff & have a serious addiction to it! I love it on apples!

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  15. Holy shit. This stuff sounds tooooo weird for me to not try it! Must pencil that in on my "wtf, must buy this!" list. :)

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  16. My favorite so far is spreading it on a warmed up TJ's crumpet. The butter melts almost instantly and nestles itself in the little crumpet crooks and crannies. The texture is perfect.

    Although the pumpkin ice cream idea is inspired!

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  17. I think I can honestly say this is the most amazing thing I've tried in a very... very long time!!! Thank you Trader Joes!!! Here's our Review - http://wp.me/p106i6-3tU

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  18. Speculoos is amazing. After living in Belgium I got addicted to the stuff and did a lot of research on how to get it in the states. The Lotus brand in Belgium is definitely the best but TJ's suffices. Trust me, you'd be a speculoos snob too if you ate the REAL stuff for months :) If you can find the actual cookies they're quite amazing. Delta serves them on longer flights. Oh and try the cookie butter on oreos. You'll never go back. (I apologize to your waistline in advance).

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    1. Thanks for the Oreo tip Annie. :) Sounds like we'll have to add Belguim to our list of places to visit someday.

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  19. I got some and I really like it! It is smooth, goes on like Jiff but when you start chewing it, you can hear and feel it crunch! Like there's millions of tiny microscopic crumbs in there. It's pretty sweet so a thin layer is good for a piece of toast. I bet this would be really good with the Almond Coco Nutella ripoff.

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  20. I disagree...out of all the items you'd give a lower score to.....THIS should be one of them! I'd give it a 5 out of 10. Nutella is WAY better!!! Or just go healthier, to peanut butter, I don't like this in-between stuff.

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  21. MMMM. It was love at first bite for me. I'd definitely recommend it! Unfortunately after I bought it, it disappeared from my TJ's shelves. (must be seasonal) Next time I see it on sale, I will make sure to stock up!

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    1. Amazon.com sells it. Free shipping if you're a Prime member.

      I just had it for breakfast on a Pink Lady apple. Heavenly...

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  22. Amazingly addictive - love it spread on graham crackers! Probably a good thing there are no stores in my state! But it's available at Amazon.com!

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  23. My Belgium foreign exchange student brought some jars of the original Speculoos with her. We were so hooked that her parents had to airlift us 6 jars every other month. I called Trader Joe's corporate office and told them they MUST stock this stuff. Low and behold, when it's not sold out, I buy at least four jars at a time. Must buy stock in this company.

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  24. Oh...my...gosh...I think my taste buds are in Heaven! My wife picked up a jar a few days ago and I just now opened it to give it a try. Now I can't stop! I'm trying to be good, really! But this is just SO darned good it's hard to stop!

    If only I had some apple slices....

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  25. Hi everyone this butter is to die for !!
    I am Dutch and in holland we have speculoos cookies
    They are very similar to American gingerbread but are sweeter and have a less pungent ginger taste
    The usually come in forms of windmills that dip magnificently in your coffee (strongly brewed) and leaves just enough flavor in ur cup to enjoy the rest of it

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  26. I'm a little dissapointed that this has margarine in it. I wish they used a "healthier" fat in this product.

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  27. I have both a jar of Trader Joe's Speculoos cookie butter and a jar of Lotus Biscoff Spread with me right now, LOL, as I type. I prefer the Trader Joe's Speculoos hands down over the Biscoff. The texture, the flavor, the smell. overall its just Sooooo much better. I was surprised because Trader Joe's Speculoos is a generic brand based off of the Lotus Biscoff Spread. Typically the generic brands shouldn't be better than the starter brands. Oh well. Is what it is. Only problem is there is no Trader Joe's In Utah yet. I have to order Speculoos off EBAY. The Biscoff Spread I can get just down the street at my Walmart but no thank you.

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  28. Bought my first jar today and...OMG! This stuff is Fall in a jar! Paired it with TJ's honey wheat pretzel sticks, and can't stop(munching away as I'm typing)! Must try some.of the recommendations here, especially with TJ's pumpkin ice cream, and using it in place of peanut butter in recipes.the apple festival is coming up, and I'm sure it will be fabulous with apple butter. I'll let you know!

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  29. I like both TJ's cookie butter, and the original Biscoof spread. They are both scrumptious, though slightly different tastes. I have adored Biscoff cookies for years and years...I got hooked on them from airline snack offerings. Now you can buy Biscoff cookies in the store, and the spread just takes it over the top!

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  30. We must try the Biscoff spread! Thanks for the recommendation! Ronsgirl, so glad you liked it, and we're anxious to hear what you think of it with apple butter!

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  31. Your review is made of awesome. I LOVE Biscoff, so I will definitely be checking this out when our TJ's opens on Nov. 2. Now please excuse me while I go put on "Hot Buttered Soul" :-)

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  32. Oh man....this stuff is really addictive! So much so that I think my daughter is going to need a 12 step program if TJ's ever stops selling the Speculoos Cookie Butter. Previous poster Chess is right--it is extra amazing spread on Biscoff cookies! Thanks for the recommendation.

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  33. I am so happy to hear you can find this in the US! I am currently living in Belgium, the home of Specuoloos, and was fearing a future without speculoos spread upon my return! I recently made these delicious Speculoos Cheesecake Cupcakes that were divine!! http://aglobetrottersfare.blogspot.be/2012/11/speculoos-cheesecupcakes.html Try them if you need something to do with your TJ's Speculoos Spread!

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  34. I bought a jar of this yesterday when I made my semi-annual trek to the nearest TJ. I seriously would not have bought it if it weren't for this blog. Now I'm kicking myself for only buying one jar. It sounds like such a strange concoction (looks like peanut butter, tastes like cookies) but it is sooooo good! I'm tempted to just grab a spoon and eat it all! But I know it will be a while before I get back to TJ's so I have to make it last. Wish there was a TJ's closer to me!

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  35. Wow people are still commenting on this post! burkeszoo, so glad you like our recommendation! 1 jar is a good start, and it lasts longer than you might think because the product is so thick and dense...

    Erika, sweet! I didn't know speculoos were Beligan. I would love to travel to Belgium someday! Thanks for the cheesecake cupcake rec!

    Laurin, I know, right? You're welcome :)

    Veggiechiliqueen, lol! Rockin' out to Isaac Hayes :)

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  37. I've long been a fan of the Biscoff cookies and finally had the opportunity to try the Lotus Biscoff spread, and you know what? I like TJ's Speculoos Cookie Butter MUCH better! Now to try the crunchy version you just reviewed!

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  38. Hey, I’m impressed with your website management and writing skills, makes me wish I had started younger. Stock tips

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  39. Replies
    1. I agree, Dian! Although I do like Nutella, too...

      Wow, really, FSMTips? Thanks! I'm available to write for your sites, too. Click on my name in the sidebar to email me :)

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  41. I just finally bought the TJs Cookie Butter the other day, knowing that it's made from a Biscoff-like cookie. I've adored Biscoff cookies since I ate one many years ago on some airline flights. I thought it was delicious. So delicious I went through the jar within three days--spoon-style. It tastes like pureed chocolate-covered salty pretzels to me. Sadly, I had GI issues within a couple of hours of eating it and it's continued throughout my 3 days of Cookie Butter bliss. And, nope, it's not anything else. I'm hyper tuned into my diet/body and Cookie Butter is the wild card over the last few days. Sadly, that will be my last jar. Not worth how icky I'm feeling. I guess I'm posting this because I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this--it's so odd to me. And sad, although probably better for my waisteline in the end. ;) I can confirm that it's so effin' delicious I went a little bonkers upon first eating. Hopefully ya'll don't have the Sensitive Sally tummy I have and can enjoy this with reckless abandon.

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  42. That sucks, Shannon. Well, at least you got to enjoy that one jar of it. Hopefully you can find plenty of other stuff to enjoy that doesn't upset your GI system!

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  43. Where can you buy TJ's Cookie Butter in the UK? My sister can't find one in Oxford. HELP!

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  44. They sell it in Waitrose. It's called Lotus Biscuit Spread, and tastes just the same. I've tested it with a jar of each, having carried some TJs Cookie Butter home from the US

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    1. Thanks, Chickenmama! We'll keep that in mind when we visit merry olde England! Good tip for our British readers....and ppl with sisters in Oxford :)

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  45. the pineapple at trader joes is super good, if not expensive. Pineapple also has great skin tightening properties.

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    1. I wonder how pineapple and cookie butter would taste?

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  46. A new way to enjoy cookie butter: stir a spoonful (or 2!) into a cup of hot coffee. YUM!

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  48. My current favorite way to eat the creamy cookie spread: melt slightly, then drizzle over fresh, sweet strawberries. Heavenly! But I'm still busy getting to know this stuff and have a growing obsession (which you can read about here ---OMG, cookie butter. [nom nom nom] It's amazing, not amazing for you... but a spoonful or two won't hurt, right? :) More on my love for this delish spread here -- http://www.cameraandcarryon.com/2014/05/call-me-cookie-monster-speculoos/). I'll be sure to check back with your blog for other great TJ products!

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